Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats vs. SMU: UA too reliant on Trier, Ayton?

Fantasy sports with an Arizona Wildcats hoops angle — this is a feature our site will be running this season in conjunction with the games. Some of the interests: How do Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier match up with their fantasy numbers with some of Arizona’s greats, other Pac-12 standouts and national player of the year candidates?

No. 2 Arizona heads into tonight’s consolation-bracket game of the Battle 4 Atlantis against SMU with some questions following last night’s 90-84 setback to unranked North Carolina State.

By the eye, reinforced by the numbers, it appears Arizona is heavily reliant on the production of Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton, perhaps to the point where the younger players are becoming spectators on the floor like the fans in the stands.

Deandre Ayton goes up for a dunk in Arizona’s win over Maryland Baltimore County (Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics photo)

In the fantasy-number analysis, Ayton and Trier are well ahead of their teammates in production. They average a combined 83.3 fantasy points. Their 11 teammates combine for 124.3. Take away Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic, and the nine others are only at a combined 74.8, less than what Trier and Ayton are producing.

It’s quite obvious Sean Miller needs more balanced especially in case Trier and/or Ayton get in foul trouble. Rawle Alkins is missed more than people might believe.

Using the same scoring system the NBA has adopted for its official scoring system, Ayton and Trier are neck-and-neck with the best average through three games.

The points distribution with the stat and its point value:

Point: 1
Rebound: 1.2
Assist: 1.5
Steal: 3
Block: 3
Turnover: -1

Here are the results of Arizona’s loss to North Carolina State (* denotes starting player):

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Here are Arizona’s season totals to date with this key:

35 and above — Player of the year status
30 to 34.9 — All-conference player
25 to 29.9 — Exceptional
20 to 24.9 — Above average
15 to 19.9 — Meets expectations
10 to 14.9 — Emerging talent
5 to 9 — Needs improvement
0 to 4.9 — Riding the pine

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— The Wildcats and Mustangs will face each other for the first time in over four decades. The two programs have met three times with all of them coming during the mid-1970’s. UA topped SMU 117-85 on Dec. 30, 1976 in the final of trio of meetings. That game took place Arizona’s second-to-final season in the Western Athletic Conference before joining the Pac-12 Conference prior to the 1978-79 season.

— Deandre Ayton finished Wednesday night with 27 points and 14 rebounds versus the Wolfpack, which were both season/career highs for him. He joined Bob Elliott (1973-74) as the only other Arizona player to record four consecutive double-doubles at any point during their freshman season. Ayton also became the first player since A.J. Bramlett in 1998-99 to begin a season with four straight double-doubles.

— After scoring just three points in the first half, Allonzo Trier scored 24 in the second half against N.C. State to finish with 27 points. It surpassed his 22 points versus NAU in the first half of the season opener for
the junior’s highest scoring half of his career

SMU’s top players:

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SMU notes:

— Unlike N.C. State, SMU’s fantasy numbers are not as imposing with only two players averaging above 30 points. The talent level is not as robust as the Wolfpack

— Whitt is a transfer from Arkansas and Emelogu played at Virginia Tech. The Mustangs have five transfers overall.

— Chargois is a true freshman who was at Union High School in Tulsa at this time last year.

Here are the fantasy numbers for Arizona’s Pac-12 player of the year winners in the season they earned that honor:

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Embed from Getty Images

Notes: If Trier (42.3) and Ayton (41.7) continue at their same rate, they would top all of these elite Arizona players in their finest seasons. … The best fantasy player who was a player of the year at Arizona is Damon Stoudamire largely because of his very high production rate of scoring and assists. … Jason Terry’s senior season of 1998-99 stands as one of the best in school history (after he finally became a starter with Mike Bibby moving on). … The average fantasy rating of all of the players is about 35.1, so the seasons Stoudamire, Terry and Sean Elliott (as a senior in 1988-89) put together were extremely phenomenal.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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